New York Welcomes Namesake Ship

Posted on 23. Jan, 2010 by in Uncategorized

November 10, 2009

Rude? Cynical? No. New Yorkers are the friendliest, most patriotic people in the world.

At least that’s how the Marines and sailors aboard the USS New York see it.

The Navy’s newest ship returned to her roots last week when she docked in New York Harbor for her commissioning. Her bow stem was forged from 7.5 tons of steel from the World Trade Center, and New Yorkers have given the crew a reception that they won’t soon forget.

“Anywhere I’ve gone, they’ve taken care of us,” said Jonathan Johnson, 20, a sailor from Orange County, Calif. “They buy drinks, food, movies, thank us for our service. You learn a lot what the ship means to New York.”

Johnson said a visit to the Tribute WTC Visitor Center – where they were received by New York’s finest and bravest – was a highlight.

“It was hard not to cry, not gonna lie. It meant a lot to see the New York Fire Department and the Police Department clapping for us.”

For Corporal Timothy Blacker of Chambersburg, Pa., 22, his first visit to the city that never sleeps lived up to the hype.

“The city’s really accepted us. Just about everywhere there have been tokens of appreciation.” He laughed. “There’s been a lot of free alcohol. ”

The men and women of the Navy and the Marine Corps have done their best to return the warm welcome.

On the Marine Corps’s 234th birthday Tuesday, three days after the ship’s commissioning, the line to board the USS New York still stretched down the block. Children climbed aboard helicopters on the deck and posed for their parents in front of tanks.

James Kennedy of New Jersey, 29, said his daughter Juliet, 3, was thrilled to explore the ship and its equipment.

“We waited all week to come see the boat – didn’t we, Juliet?” he said.

Captain Barrett Breedlove of Tyler, Tex., 28, said this stint in New York was special because 9/11 was a factor in his decision to join the Marines.

“And I always wanted to be a Marine as a kid,” said Breedlove, who met several future Marines while keeping a watchful eye on his helicopter. “Hey, can you stay down there, buddy?” he added, lifting a curious boy out of the cockpit.

Philip Evans, a Marine and gas systems maintenance specialist from Charlotte, North Carolina, had some fun with the children clambering over a 200,000-pound hovercraft. The Marines use the amphibious craft to transport equipment and troops.

“It looks like a Jetsons kind of a thing,” he said. “The kids love sitting in the pilot seat. Sometimes I tell them it has flamethrowers and rockets.”

The USS New York departs New York Thursday, the morning after Veterans Day, She will head back to her base in Norfolk, Virginia.

Sailor Jonathan Johnson thinks New Yorkers have one more reason to appreciate the ship.

“I’ve been telling them, ‘You’re welcome,’ and they ask what for,” he said. “And I say, you think it’s an accident that the USS New York pulls in and then New York wins the World Series?”

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